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Speak Out and Stand Firm Against Sectarianism

Davy Carlin • Irish News 10/6/2002


Once again sectarianism rises its head in force in East Belfast, with the result of increased division and separation of peoples in differing working class areas. Little of the worst rioting Belfast has seen in years has made its way in detail onto our TV screens whether through indifference or a wider agenda of perceived political reasoning. Whatever the case the short term effects of these incidents have possibly intensified the division of the long term relationship of both sides in the areas, but could also potentially, if allowed to develop have an increasing impact on wider society as the summer months roll in. The fact remains that presently people are and have been attacked and homes destroyed. So the physical impacts are visible and hopefully short term but the long term impact is at times initially hidden both psychologically and emotionally especially for the young, elderly and most vulnerable. Therefore the impact isolated as such within this area will have not only its localized long term effects but possible future repercussions in wider society if not tackled.

We just have to look at previous years when various instances have entrenched bitter feelings, leading to a chain reaction, which developed at times to death and murder on our streets. Such situations whatever the initial reasoning have and are keenly forwarded by sinister forces in which they attempt to permanently revisit as a status quo rather than attempting to concretize a future for society as a whole. In the past the development of such initial situations led to peoples attacked, displaced or killed. It led to increased attacks on our firefighters, health workers and others going to public aid. It led to barricades being raised practically and ideologically. It led to large increases in intimidation and wide spread violence. It led to heightened tensions and rising sectarianism. It has and will lead to our children learning that very politic of the past which we seek to remove, rather than understanding and learning why collectively we should move forward to a common future. In effect it has and can rebound around the whole of wider society with society as a whole being affected, if allowed to fester. That is why those leaders within the communities, work/student unions, church and representatives of wider society should be pushed to take a lead for society as a whole. Situations can only be rectified if peoples, however hard it may seem by collective will, understanding, and unity of action from below as recently shown, can attempt to break down the barriers of division. Such initiatives in the past have firstly been voiced then moved to action to combat sectarianism so wouldn't it be a great start for us all if those leaders of various areas of society show a lead and put those dusty words into action and collectively with others speak out and stand firm against the ongoing attacks on working people?



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